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Old August 15th, 2008, 07:53 AM
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Default More on Site Searching

Initially, I site search manually with whatever national mages I've got (and tribals/amazons if I lack their paths).

Is it worth it to search these provinces again, having perhaps searched up to path 3?

Level 4

In my opinion, if you've already manually searched a province with level 3 mages, the only paths worth re-searching to level 4 are Astral and Death. And maybe Nature.

Astral 4: S4 sites can give you recruitable Shadow Seers, and there is also a 30% discount Enchantment S4 site.

Death 4: There is one D4 site, Crown of Darkness, which only occurs in mountains, and it gives you a 40% Thaumaturgy discount. That's nice for Gift of Reason. It causes disease, giving a bit of a hint to its presence. There's another unique D4 site occurring anywhere except sea, but it only spits out gems.

Nature 4: There's one N4 site that gives a 20% Thaumaturgy discount. I don't think it's worth the effort to look for it.

Of course, the other level-4 sites give you good gem income, 5 per turn is pretty nice. But they are rare enough that it's unlikely you'll make your investment back -- in casting cost or mage downtime. The E4 Factory gives you 3 gems and a free Mechanical Man every turn, but I won't go out of my way to hunt for it.

Level 3

If you've already searched to level 2, is it worth it to search to level 3?

Air 3 Mountain, Waste, and Caves can have a frequency-0 (common) A3 site, making A3 searching worthwhile. Additionally all non-sea terrain can have an A3 site allowing you to recruit Illusionists. It won't give you more diversity, but they're decent mages (note, they can also be recruited at a few A2 sites).

Earth 3: All terrain has a common E3 site possible. Also there are E3 sites allowing you to recruit Gnomes or give you 30% or 20% Conjuration discounts.

Fire 3: All terrain except seas can have a common F3 site.

Water 3: All terrain except seas can have a common W3 site.

Astral 3: All terrain except caves and seas can have a common S3 site. There are rare S3 sites that allow you to recruit Crystal Mages and Shadow Seers, and a 50% Conjuration S3 site.

Death 3: All terrain except caves and seas can have a common D3 site. It has death scales, so it's usually easy to spot. In addition there are rare D3 sites that allow you to summon free Wights, Banes, or Mummies, and one that gives a 20% Conj discount.

Nature 3: All terrain except caves and seas can have a common N3 site. There is a rare 50% Enchantment N3 site.

Blood 3: There are no common B3 sites. There is one mountain-only B3 site that gives you a 30% Blood discount. But the best B3 site, Summoning Circle, gives you 60% off and it can be found anywhere except caves and seas. Still, you should probably search mountains first, then other terrain.

So it's always worth re-searching up to level 3 in all paths.

Summary

Air/Fire/Water: If you're not an Air/Fire/Water nation, it's unlikely you'll be able to boost to A3/F3/W3 by the time you can spell search. Since it's worth searching to level 3, you might as well use rituals.

Earth: If I have E3s I will manually search. With E2s, I'd give them a pair of boots and manually search, unless for some reason I really want to research Thau 2 before Const 4.

Astral: Always worth searching to level 4. Most likely using rituals. You only need an S1, and it's cheap to make pearls.

Death: Always worth searching to level 3. If you only have D1s, then use rituals. But with D3 recruitables (or D2s with Skull Staffs), you could walk around and just look in the mountains for the D4 Crown of Darkness -- it causes disease, giving a bit of a hint to its presence.

Nature: The only common level 1 sites that allow you to recruit mages are both N1, and are both only found in the forest. Witches are cheap and sacred, and Enchantresses have superb diversity. So search those forests! Non-nature nations can hire a tribal indy mage. With N3s I manually search, and with N2s I give them a Thistle Mace and manually search. Same deal as Earth with the Thau 2 versus Const 4 research.

Blood: Always worth searching to level 3 for Summoning Circle. It's such a critical difference to find a blood discount site that the speed gained by ritual searching is worth it ... and slaves are cheap. But if you don't have B2s (you should have B2s, because it's cheap to empower), Mount Chaining gives you a 40% Blood discount, and is only a level 1 site. If you find the Summoning Circle there's not a whole lot of reason to search Blood further, unless you see unusual unrest.

Holy: Hopefully one of your manual searchers also has H... if not, I'd just send out a spare priest to manually search empty provinces, because there are no really great holy sites.

Notes on Auto-Selected-Province Ritual Site Searching

The automatic ritual site searching is nice if you're way ahead in the game or sick of micro. But it really is sub-optimal. With auto-selected-province rituals:

* If you cast ritual site searches for 4 paths, it's possible they all target the same province. If you've got 4 unsearched provinces, it's much better to assign each one his own province. That way, if you find two Iron Cliffs and an Enchanted Tower in a province, you won't have wasted 3 other rituals in a simultaneous search. Save the "full" provinces for searching later or manually.

* It's possible they'll target a province that is on the front lines of an active war. It's obviously better to search somewhere you're not going to lose the province. Auto-monthly site searching is even worse because it will even sometimes site search in a province you just lost to the enemy.

* The auto rituals will skip provinces where only two sites have been found. I think it's worth searching more for common (or spectacular 60% off!) sites.

* The auto rituals will skip sites where you started off searching manually. Don't pass up a full search in a forest just because you ran an N1 through the woods early on.

* The auto rituals will search one-site capitals.

* The auto rituals pay no attention to whether a province is completely empty or has one found site. The empty province is usually better to search.

* The auto rituals pay no attention to terrain, and will happily search a farm province prior to searching wasteland.

So, search manually and/or target your rituals manually. Search according to whacked-out scales first:
http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showthread.php?t=39973

Then by the best terrain for the path (consider number of existing sites):
http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showt...642#post502642
http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showt...324#post397324

And don't do additional searching where no possible site exists in the terrain:
http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showthread.php?t=39976
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Last edited by Edi; August 22nd, 2008 at 02:25 PM.. Reason: Added prefix
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Old August 15th, 2008, 08:33 AM
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Default Re: More on Site Searching

Cool post. I always site search manually right away, everywhere, with the philosophy that giving up the mage time to get a site on turn 3 could easily provide an extra 100+ gems in a 50+ turn game (assuming +2 gem site is found). Doing the same search on turn 25 however sacrifices the same mage time for a net return of 50+ gems. Seems obvious but I find I often have one of the higher gem income scores...

It coincides with getting mages out of the lab early on and onto the battlefield (as opposed to when I first started playing and found all I ever did was accumulate mages that seemed to research for the sake of researching). Even a little minor spell action can help out in those early province expansions and if you expand radially around your capital you can keep sending a mage out while the prior one searches.

This strategy results in lower research at first, which can cause some nervousness, but with some luck you'll find some indy mage sites that can provide a huge leg up when you're recruiting 2-3 mages vs. everyone else's 1.

I then go back and use remote rituals later - but still question how useful that is since it has been my experience that I rarely find anything new, and am now spending gems (in addition to mage time) and the holding period for any sites found is much shorter, meaning lower total gems will be extracted.
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